News and Politics | San Francisco Bay Guardian

Wrong side of history

Newsom and Herrera had little support, even from fellow Democrats, when they started the same-sex marriage fight


In June, 2006, the august and powerful Association of Alternative Newsweeklies held its convention in Little Rock, Arkansas -- and to the surprise of most of us, former President Bill Clinton agreed to come and speak. He even took questions.

I had one.

"Mr. President," I said, "when Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, he knew it would cost his party votes in the South. But he did it anyway, because it was the right thing to do. Same-sex marriage is a civil-rights issue; why can't Democrats like you stand up and support it?"Read more »

Choked out

Jail death ruled a "homicide," his family gets a $350,000 payout, but the deputies remain on the job despite the persistent efforts of a witness


When a struggle occurs in jail, it happens behind closed doors where the only witnesses are usually on opposite sides of the law. And when a struggle between these adversaries results in death of an inmate, a lot of questions emerge, questions that can linger for years if not publicly addressed.Read more »

Final step?

Marriage equality advocates hope the US Supreme Court definitively ends the long quest for justice


President Barack Obama is fond of reciting the Martin Luther King Jr. quote, "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice." On the issue of marriage equality, that arc looks more like a zig-zagging path that began when San Francisco unilaterally began issuing marriage license to same-sex couples just before Valentines Day in 2004 and ending — its backers hope — in June 2013 with the US Supreme Court affirming the basic constitutional right of everyone to marry whomever they want and to have those marriages treated equally under the law.Read more »

Guns in Bayview

Local activists differ on SF gun control ordinances that are now under fire by the NRA


The National Rifle Association's bid to kill two San Francisco gun control ordinances — which a federal judge initially rejected last week, although that legal process continues — highlights differing views on the issue in the violence-plagued Bayview, where two prominent activists have opposing viewpoints.

One ordinance requires guns in the home to be locked up when not on the owner's person and the second bans the sale of fragmenting and expanding bullets, affecting only the city's sole gun store: High Bridge Arms, in the Mission district.Read more »

Immigrants -- or refugees?

Latin Dish: Words matter, and we're using the wrong one


LATIN DISH Whenever politicians start talking immigration reform it always reminds me of the story—perhaps chisme—about that guy, who, you know, burned his neighbor's house down, and then when the neighbors jumped over the fence to escape the fire, he complained bitterly, just bitterly, that they were trampling his rose garden.

It's the same with the pejoratives "illegal alien," or in a kinder mood "undocumented worker." Both of these terms, like the phrase "immigration reform," are tricks with words to hide the true status of this unique community.Read more »


The city's eviction of HANC's recycling center could harm local businesses along with the gardeners and recyclers


So much for the holiday spirit.

In a win for the NIMBY neighbors of the Haight neighborhood, the Haight Ashbury Recycling Center was gifted with its final eviction notice, ordering it out on the street by the day this story goes to print, Dec. 5.

But those who hoped this eviction would rid the neighborhood of poor people recycling bottles and cans may be disappointed — and so might local small businesses that could face some unintended consequences of the move.Read more »

Sharing the sun

Solar energy entrepreneurs are pioneering new models for democratizing power


Dan Rosen, the co-founder of Solar Mosaic, told us there was an ironic note to the devastation that Hurricane Sandy recently brought to New York City. The same power grid that helps create such fierce hurricanes through the burning of fossil fuels was unable to distribute power to thousands of homes, in mostly low-income neighborhoods, for weeks in the wake of storm.Read more »

A developer's wet dream

Wiener offers far-reaching proposals to amend environmental-review laws


CORRECTION: This article has been updated to correct a statement from Sup. Scott Wiener about affordable housing.

Sup. Scott Wiener is proposing a dramatic overhaul of the city's environmental review process that would limit the ability of citizen activists to appeal projects and could ease the path for major developments.Read more »

Aggressive Warriors

Waterfront basketball and concert arena moving quickly despite neighborhood concerns


No standard defensive strategy is likely to stop the Golden State Warriors, Mayor Ed Lee, and their huge team of partners and employees from dominating the game of approving construction of a new basketball and concert arena on San Francisco's central waterfront. That became clear on Nov. 14, as the political operation overcame fire, darkness, and neighborhood-based opposition for the first big score.Read more »

Bottom confronts top

Walmart workers and their allies organize a movement that could ripple through the retail industry


On Nov. 2, a half-hour before the 6am grand re-opening of the newly remodeled Walmart store in Richmond, six workers on the late-night shift donned matching lime-green T-shirts and staged a sit-in next to the Customer Service desk.

"We're tired of mistreatment at work," explained Walmart worker Mario Hammod, "of not being treated with dignity and respect."

Outside, a small group of union members, clergy, and other supporters stood in the dark, holding a huge banner reading "Walmart on strike: End the retaliation."Read more »